Investigators find ‘substantial reason’ to believe Duncan violated House rules with family spending

Congressional ethics investigators say they have found substantial reason to believe Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. improperly used thousands of campaign dollars on personal expenses for himself and his family, reports Michael Collins.

The expenses totaled more than $100,000 and include trips for Duncan’s family and friends to the upscale Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, the 2017 presidential inauguration in Washington and family travel to New York City for a National Republican Congressional Committee event, according to a report by the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics.

Other expenses outlined in the 57-page report include thousands of dollars for membership dues and private parties, including baby showers and bridal dinners, at the Club LeConte in Knoxville and membership dues at the Knoxville Quarterback Club.

Congressional investigators analyzed thousands of pages of Duncan’s credit card, travel and other purchase records since 2008 and concluded there is “substantial reason” to believe that he may have violated House ethics rules, standards of conduct and federal law, the report said.

The House Ethics Committee released the report Wednesday and said it is continuing to review the allegations against Duncan, a Knoxville Republican and the longest-serving Tennessean in Congress.

… In a statement following the release of the report, Duncan insisted he has done nothing wrong and called the report “so false and misleading that it is almost ludicrous.”

The investigator for the Office of Congressional Ethics “made a ridiculous accusation that I ‘may’ have converted a very large amount of money to my personal use when practically all of it was spent buying meals for campaign workers, supporters, contributors, and constituents, many of whom I did not even know,” Duncan said.

“Over my 30 years in Congress, my campaign has paid for thousands of meals,” he said. “My wife and I have paid out of our own pockets for personal groceries and family meals. But many thousands have come to our barbecues. And I have hosted thousands of people from my district at luncheons, dinners, receptions, and political events of all types.

“However, because this OCE staffer was so determined to make something bad out of something good, and to create a scandal where there was none, she decided that because some of my family and friends were at many of these events, they somehow became personal rather than political.”

Note: The full report (released publicly by the committee though it still has a ‘confidential’ label atop) is HERE.

Duncan’s formal response is HERE.

 

 

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